Is it better to “grow up in the church” or to escape the world to seek truth on your own? The first may not know the sharp edge of the world’s heartache, but often a personal faith is taken for granted and underdeveloped. The second can create an abiding faith but a lifetime of overcoming sinful habits and baggage. Inheriting the kingdom from his father, Solomon began well as someone who grew up in the church often does. But, did he seek God or let his heart be led astray?
I. 1 Kings 3:3-28. In the beginning of his reign, Solomon loved God and walked in the way of his father, King David, yet as he still worshipped at the high places, there’s a hint that his heart wasn’t fully after God’s heart like David’s was (Acts 13:22). He asks for wisdom or discernment to govern God’s people, which pleased God, and he was granted many other blessings. What can an abundance of God’s grace do in a heart, vulnerable to temptation and sin, that is not fully chasing God?
II. 2 Samuel 12:7-9. When David had yielded to sin, the prophet Nathan tells him that God had given him much and would have given him much more, but David had repaid God’s grace by despising God’s Word. This principle is carried out in the New Testament by Jesus (Matthew 25:29). We must prove faithful in what we have been entrusted, so that God can use us in even bigger ways. Sadly, Solomon did not do this, allowing his blessings, projects, and power (2 Chronicles 1:14-17) and the comfort found in sin (1 Kings 11:1-4) lead his heart astray. Clearly, the wisdom he had to warn against such falling (Proverbs 5:1-9) wasn’t enough to safeguard his heart.
III. Philippians 4:4-7. If we seek God and His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33) and ask for wisdom (James 1:5-8), we must still apply these things to our hearts to truly live for Christ and honor Him as holy (1 Peter 3:13-16). How do we do this? We must sell all that this world has to offer (Matthew 13:44) and press on to the goal despite obstacles (Philippians 3:12-16), holding on to what we have already obtained and adding to that in increasing measure (2 Peter 1:3-11). Then God will guard our hearts.
What could Solomon have achieved if he hadn’t let his heart be led astray? How could God use you if you used what you’ve already been entrusted with to seek Him and His Kingdom?